App developer and entrepreneur, Andrew Clapham is one half of the brains behind mobile app QuicklyPay.it. The application allows users to avoid those awkward moments of asking friends to repay money.
An intellectual property (IP) strategy is unique to you and your business and very few strategies are the same. It pays to do your research and find out what is the best approach for you.
In the case of Canberra app developers and entrepreneurs, Andrew Clapham and Zakaria Bouguettaya, their strategy is to focus on being early to market and providing the best product possible. In an emerging market place it is important to have a well-developed business plan that includes your IP as a core element of this plan - whether you decide to protect it or not.
The ingenious duo have developed a mobile app to help avoid those awkward moments of asking friends to repay money.
The app, QuicklyPay.it, allows friends to easily collect money from split bills and group payments such as restaurants and shared house electricity bills in a secure environment. It sources contacts from a phone’s address book to remind people they owe money and removes the need to hunt down bank account details or remember to hand over the cash in person.
There is even the option to pay with Bitcoin, (digital currency) in what is claimed to be a world first use of this currency in the app world.
This is not the first app created by the entrepreneurs, who have a background in building and developing apps for businesses and the Australian government through their app development business, Imagine Team. A previously developed public transport app by the duo, MyBus 2.0, aimed at helping Canberra’s commuters, is a huge success with over 57,000 active users in Canberra and has won multiple awards.
Four months after the launch of QuicklyPay.it the app had already handled $26,000 worth of payments from more than 500 users and was continuing to grow.
Despite all of this, the QuicklyPay.it app is not protected by any form of IP.
Andrew Clapham explained that he is not opposed to protecting his IP, however, he believes that this process can often confine start-ups to sticking to an original idea rather than seeking input from others and improving on these initial ideas.
'It's beneficial to get as much input as possible, from as many people as possible, in the early stage of app development. This process improves the product, but often means the product is changed significantly from the original idea. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to protect with intellectual property rights,' said Mr Clapham.
'I have found that, if an idea is protected in the initial phase, motivation is often reduced to evolve and improve the product to something that will be more successful in the long run, especially as this may mean protecting the idea for a second time round.'
Andrew believes that, in the app world, a differentiated product is extremely important.
'Getting a product to market first is valuable, however, it is most important to provide a differentiated product that will provide a competitive advantage in the longer term.'
It's this differentiation that Andrew hopes will protect their apps.
Andrew's experience is a lesson in seeking professional IP advice early to ensure that you have the correct advice and are able to create the most appropriate IP strategy for your business.
IP protection is an important business decision and it is important that you review information available to ensure an informed decision can be made.